Good news for Winker after Sunday's early exit

July 16th, 2019

CHICAGO -- and the Reds are breathing a little easier, as the outfielder got good news about the tightness in his left back and side on Monday.

“I’m feeling better," Winker said before the series opener against the Cubs. "Just one of those things that was a weird thing. Like I said [in Colorado], I was hoping it was not something too extreme, and it’s not. Woke up, felt better.”

Winker left in the sixth inning of Sunday’s 10-9 loss to the Rockies after experiencing the tightness during a swing, but will not be forced to miss any games or spend time on the injured list.

“Good news. He passed all of the health tests, “ manager David Bell said. “Much better than expected. You get pain in the side, you start thinking about much longer-term injuries.”

Although Winker was not in the lineup on Monday, Bell said he was available to play, and he did just that, entering as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of the Reds' 6-3 victory. Winker connected on a single, and took advantage of a pair of Cubs misplays to advance and eventually score what would be the game-winning run.

The 25-year-old has 13 home runs and 29 RBIs this season.

Garrett getting close

's return appears to be imminent, as the southpaw threw a side session prior to Monday’s game and will throw batting practice before Wednesday’s series finale.

“We miss Amir. There’s no question,” Bell said. “He’s such a big part of our bullpen, not only because he’s left-handed. He was definitely growing into one of the best, left or right, against any hitter. To have a guy like that, we can’t wait to get him back.”

Garrett was dominating as one of Cincinnati’s primary high-leverage relievers prior to going on the 10-day IL with a left lat strain on July 4, with a 3-1 record and 1.70 ERA in 42 games this season.